Last week we left with Lizzy joining her parents for introductions to the party from Netherfield. As a recap, I will remind you that the Bennets own Netherfield Park and Longbourn is not entailed away from the female line and the citizens of Meryton are unaware. Also, for my story, Mrs. Bennet is not flighty and vulgar, but to test the mettle of our fair Mr. Bingley, she's willing to put on a show.
And... we're off!
As it turned out, Jane’s head was not turned by Mr. Darcy. Instead, her attentions were captured by the delightful Mr. Bingley. Upon introduction, he successfully petitioned her hand for the next two sets. When asked if he liked dancing, Mr. Darcy flatly stated, ‘No,’ and left their party. Shocked at his abrupt rudeness, Mama gaped after him. Something she hadn’t done in years. She caught her husband’s eye and waved him over.
“What is it, my dear?”
“When you visited Mr. Bingley, did he seem addled in the head?” she said in a low voice so it wouldn’t carry.
And... we have more!
Mr. Bennet took a step back and assessed his wife. “I don’t understand what you are asking me.”
“When a young man of good manners as well as good fortune befriends another man, who is abominably rude to a newly introduced person, does that not also speak to his character?”
“You are speaking of Mr. Darcy.”
“One and the same.”
“Mrs. Bennet, I caution you against making the same mistake as Mr. Darcy. You do not know his character and what he is thinking. His manners might be lacking, but do not take the low road with this, my love. You are better than that.”
Mrs. Bennet huffed and Lizzy choked back a snicker. It wasn’t often that her mother’s feathers were ruffled.
“Fine,” she finally acceded, “but I take leave to not like him.”
Papa kissed Mama’s cheek, disregarding the raised eyebrows at his open affection.
“I give you leave not to like him.”
“Would you check on Lydia and Kitty? They’ve been a trifle too excited this evening and I’m pretty sure Lydia has been flirting with the Westcott boy. I don’t think we should have allowed them to come this evening.”
“We agreed, Fanny, the local Assembly was the perfect venue for our two youngest daughters to make their soft come-out. We are among friends here and they can’t get into too much trouble where they are so well known.”